Chiropractic Improving Depression? Connecting the Dots [Research]
Improving Depression By Curbing The Inflammation Cycle.
Depression is a physical illness caused by inflammation, scientists now believe, after unexpected results from clinical trials have shown that treating inflammation seems to alleviate depression.
Over 18 million Americans, around 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, suffer from depression in a given year. It’s a condition that affects all people regardless of age, geographic location, demographic, or social position, and the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the 2nd highest medical cause of disability by the year 2030, 2nd only to HIV/AIDS.
Inflammation is the key
Current medical treatment focuses restoring mood-boosting chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, but experts are evolving their models in light of evidence that unaddressed, chronic inflammation causes the classic depressive feelings of hopelessness, unhappiness and fatigue. It’s similar to the low mood people often experience when they are in a state of systemic inflammation while fighting a virus. It makes sense, considering that we’ve known forever that people who are depressed are more prone to illnesses like colds and the flu than non-depressed people.
It’s clear we’re on the brink of a new era of ‘immuno-neurology’ when it comes to how we diagnose and treat depression. In relation to mood, beyond reasonable doubt, there is a very robust association between inflammation and depressive symptoms. The question is does the inflammation drive the depression or vice versa or is it just a coincidence?
In experimental medicine studies if you treat a healthy individual with an inflammatory drug, like interferon, a substantial percentage of those people will become depressed. So there is good enough evidence for a causal effect.
Scientists have pointed to an inflammatory chemical produced by the central nervous system called TNF as a potential mechanism of action. TNF is a chemical that, if released in high enough doses, can literally cause people to die of shock.
In light of this new understanding of depression, experts are calling for more research to find new treatments outside the traditional medical model. Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at mental health charity Mind, says “We must acknowledge a wide range of potential causes and treatments. For many people, long term physical illness can cause mental health problems, such as depression.”
The good news?
Chiropractic treatment has been shown to be one of the fastest-acting and most effective ways to decrease systemic inflammation and circulating levels of TNF. A 2006 study from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that examined 64 patients in a double-blind experiment found that just a single adjustment significantly decreased the levels of TNF compared to control subjects.
It explains why we see so many patients in our office report that adjustments help with their depression and anxiety, as the adjustment essentially “resets” the autonomic nervous system.
EVERY system in your body is affected by the health of your spine. Science proves it. Have a friend or family member who’s never experienced the benefits of evidence-based, comprehensive chiropractic care at Ascent Chiropractic? Share this post!
Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA1, Injeyan HS, Ruegg R. Spinal manipulative therapy reduces inflammatory cytokines but not substance P production in normal subjects. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 Jan;29(1):14-21.
Montoya JG, et al. Inflammation correlates with symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2017 114 (34) 8914-8916